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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources


Living in Light of Two Ages



"Baptized into Christ" -- Galatians 3:26-4:7

The Sixth in Series of Sermons on Galatians

Paul’s gospel is the public placarding of Christ crucified (Galatians 3:1)–the proclamation of the death of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins, and the affirmation of our Lord’s perfect obedience in fulfilling the demands of the law of Moses.  Justification (our right standing before God) and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the promise which God made to Abraham, both come to God’s people (Jew and Gentile) though faith alone (“hearing with faith”).  They cannot be earned by works of law.  Defending this gospel in the face a serious challenge is the reason why Paul sends this letter to the Galatians.

Paul was instrumental in the founding of a number of churches in the Galatian region, and now, soon after he had left the area, a group of false teachers known as the Judaizers began to infiltrate these churches.  Paul says these false teachers were “spying” on those Gentiles exercising their freedom in Christ, trying to prove that Paul’s gospel leads to licence (the abuse of grace).  The Judaizers were Jews who had come to believe that Jesus was Israel’s Messiah, but they also insisted that Gentile converts to Christianity must submit to ritual circumcision, keep certain aspects of the dietary laws, and obey the law of Moses in order to be justified.  These conditions were added to faith in Jesus.

The epistle to the Galatians is the Apostle Paul’s response to this very difficult situation.  Paul expresses his astonishment and his anger at the seeming ease and speed at which the Judaizers were able to throw the Galatians into confusion by introducing their false gospel which is, as Paul says, no gospel at all.  Paul’s response to the Judaizers begins with a stern warning to the Galatians–if anyone comes and preaches a gospel different from the gospel that he had previously preached to them, the one preaching such a thing was to be considered anathema (accursed).  

Paul defends his apostolic office on the ground that the gospel he has been preaching to all the churches was revealed to him by none other than Jesus Christ.  Since this gospel reveals we are justified by the merits of Christ, and not through any merit or works of our own, Paul points out that justification must come through faith in Christ, and not through our works.  Paul explains that the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15, 18, is fulfilled in Jesus Christ (the promised seed–3:16).  This promise was given and ratified before God made a subsequent covenant with Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai.  Paul reminds his hearers that one purpose of the law is to expose our sin, so that we flee to Jesus Christ for forgiveness.  In fact both covenants (Abraham and Moses) point to Jesus Christ and his saving work.  

With this in mind, we pick up where we left off previously (vv. 15-25).  The Apostle moves on from discussing the fact that the promise God made to Abraham is not nullified by the law later given to Moses, to a discussion of baptism in Galatians 3:26-3:29.  Paul is speaking of all true children of Abraham (Jew and Gentile) when he states in verse 26, “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith,” re-stating the point he in verse 25, which we considered, last time–“but now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian [the law].”  

By speaking of both ethnic groups (Jew and Gentile) as “sons” of God, Paul is making an important point in his argument against the Judaizers, namely, that sons, even adopted sons, are legally entitled to receive an inheritance from their father.  In this case, both Jew and Gentile are sons of God through faith in Christ, and therefore both heirs to the promise since both are the legitimate children of Abraham.  It is Jesus Christ who unites Jew and Gentile into one body through faith alone.  But it is the Judaizers who instead seek to divide Jew from Gentile.  This explains, in part, why the so-called “gospel” of the Judaizers, divides along ethnic lines those whom God has joined together in one body (the church).


To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (December 10-16)

Sunday Morning, December 16:  On the third Sunday in Advent, we will take up Nathan's prophecy to David regarding a coming messianic king with an everlasting kingdom.  Our text will be 2 Samuel 7:1-17.  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  What is church discipline and why should churches practice such a thing?  This Lord's Day, we'll address article 32 of the Belgic Confession.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m. 

Wednesday Night Bible Study (December 12) @ 7:30 p.m.  We will be wrapping up our discussion of faith, reason, and the Holy Spirit.  Our series will continue in the new year when we take up "making the case for Christianity." 

Friday Night Academy:  Resumes in 2019

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here Christ Reformed Church, or Christ Reformed on Facebook.


"The Lion of the Tribe of Judah" -- Revelation 5:1-14

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon for the second Sunday in Advent: 


Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- The Witness of the Holy Spirit (Part Five)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday Night Bible Study:  B. B. Warfield on Faith, Evidence, and the Holy Spirit


"Why Then the Law?" -- Galatians 3:15-25

The Fifth in a Series of Sermons on Galatians

One of best ways to refute error is to proclaim the truth.  This is what Paul does throughout the Book of Galatians.  The error Paul must refute is doctrinal and public.  A group of false teachers, the Judaizers, had come to the Galatians shortly after Paul had left the region.  They challenged Paul’s authority and began undermining the gospel which the Apostle had preached previously.  The Judaizers were zealous for the law and the tradition of their fathers.  When Gentiles responded to the gospel after Paul preached it to them, and then came to faith in Jesus Christ, the Judaizers became insistent that these Gentiles believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but, they added, Gentile converts must also submit to ritual circumcision, keep certain dietary laws, and obey the law of Moses.  If they failed to do so, they would forfeit their right standing before God.  This was the great error of the Judaizers; faith in Christ, plus . . .

Publically placarding Jesus Christ crucified before his hearer’s eyes through his preaching (Gal. 3:1), the truth is also out in the open.  Justification comes through faith in Jesus Christ (“hearing with faith” as Paul calls it), not through obedience to the law of Moses, not through submission to ritual circumcision, or through keeping dietary laws.  The blessings of the promise that God made to Abraham comes to all of Abraham’s children–whether Jew or Gentile–through faith and not by by works.  This is Paul’s gospel.

Paul was angry about the errors of the Judaizers.  He was also angry at their deceptive methods.  Apparently, the Judaizers were infiltrating the Galatian churches and spying on Gentiles exercising their freedom in Christ.  Any possible instance of the abuse of Christian liberty was turned into an argument against Paul’s gospel.  As Paul saw it, since we are justified (given a right standing before God) by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone, any departure from this gospel was a different gospel, which is no gospel.  Paul’s gospel had been revealed to him personally by Jesus Christ, and it was through this same gospel the Galatians had trusted in Christ alone through the “hearing with faith,” the means by which the Galatians received the Holy Spirit and witnessed God work miracles in their midst.
Making his case that justification and God’s promise to Abraham (the gift of the Holy Spirit) both come to Abraham’s children through faith alone, in verses 15-18 of Galatians 3, Paul points out that even though the promise to Abraham was given chronologically prior to giving of law to Moses, this does not mean that the law nullifies the prior Abrahamic promise.  After discussing the death of Christ in verses 12-13–Jesus Christ become a curse for us to redeem us from the curse of the law, bearing that curse for us in his own body hanging upon the cross (tree), so that Jew and Gentile alike can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit–Paul moves on in verses 15-18 to discuss the nature of the promise and its connection to the different covenants made with Abraham and Moses.  Paul will give a lesson in redemptive history.

Using Abraham as his example, Paul is able to prove that his understanding of the gospel which is centered in the public placarding of Christ crucified for sinners, is the very same gospel that God preached in advance to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 15:6.  Paul is no innovator.  The promise God gave to Abraham that he would justify Abraham and all of his spiritual children, Jew and Gentile, through faith alone, is the same gospel taught throughout the Old Testament.  The substance of the promise was that through the means of faith, God would give the children of Abraham the gift of the Holy Spirit and so having received the Holy Spirit, they were now heirs to the promise.

Paul’s main point in this section is really a simple one.  The promise given to Abraham as recounted in Genesis 17, preceded in time God’s giving of the law to Moses at Mt. Sinai.  The law cannot nullify the promise.  In Galatians 3:15, Paul puts it this way.  “To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.”  Paul’s example points to the covenant (diatheke) which God had previously established with Abraham as recounted in Genesis 15-17.  This first covenant cannot be set aside by a later covenant, because the covenant God made with Abraham is unconditional in the sense that it is God himself who swears the oath to Abraham to bring to pass what is promised–“I will be your God and you and your descendants after you will be my people.”

To read the rest of this sermon:  Click Here


Luther and Calvin on the End Times (Part Two)

Here's the audio from my concluding Friday night Academy Lecture, "Luther and Calvin on the End Times" (Part Two)

My lectures are based upon my chapter "The Eschatology of the Reformers" from Reformation Theology:  A Systematic SummaryYou Can Purchase Reformation Theology here


This Week at Christ Reformed Church (December 3-9)

Sunday Morning, December 9:  On the second Sunday in Advent we will look at Christ's incarnation from a heavenly perspective (our text:  Revelation 4-5).  How can the lamb also be a lion?  Our worship service begins at 10:30 a.m.

Sunday Afternoon:  What do ministers, elders, and deacons do?  What does their biblical job descriptions include?  This Lord's Day, we'll address article 31 of the Belgic Confession.  Our afternoon service begins at 1:15 p.m.   

Wednesday Night Bible Study (December 5) @ 7:30 p.m.  As we continue our series Apologetics in a Post-Christian Age, we will be wrapping up our look at B. B. Warfield's view of faith, reason, and the Holy Spirit. 

Friday Night, December 7 (@ 7:30 p.m.)  The annual Christ Reformed Christmas party--join us for an evening of carols, dessert, music, and fellowship! 

For more information on Christ Reformed Church you can always find us here Christ Reformed Church, or Christ Reformed on Facebook.


"Her Offspring" -- Genesis 3:1-19 (The First Sunday in Advent)

Here's the audio from this morning's sermon on Genesis 3:1-19, for the First Sunday in Advent:  "Her Offspring" -- Genesis 3:1-19


The Past Comes Back to Life

If you are a Southern Californian who has taken that magnificent drive up US 395 into the Owens Valley, you have no doubt passed Dehy Park in Independence, CA.  You also probably noticed the narrow gauge locomotive (Southern Pacific 4-6-0 # 18) which has been on on display at the entrance to the small park since about 1960.  You may even have toured the narrow gauge museum at Laws, CA, just north of Bishop, where #18's sister locomotive, #9, resides in the midst of rusting narrow gauge passenger coaches and assorted and odd freight cars.  I've posted on US 395 and the SP Narrow Gauge before (SP Narrow Gauge and US 395).

Several years ago the Carson & Colorado Railway, Inc. (a group of folks interested in fully restoring #18), began the task of removing the locomotive from the Dehy Park to a new engine house and then completely restoring the nearly century-old locomotive to pristine running condition.  That project was completed over a year ago.  The locomotive has run under live steam power several times.  Since #18 has little track to run on in its new home (the Eastern Sierra Museum), it was trucked over to Laws for a full-steam exhibition on much longer track (nearly a mile).

But the full-steam run at Laws (while better than than 1500 feet of track in Independence) did not allow for a full display of what a completely restored #18 could do on a longer run at operating speed. 

The Carson & Colorado folks recently loaned #18 to the Durango and Silverton Railroad in Durango, Co.  The folks who run the famed tourist train helped restore #18 and are quite interested in duplicating #18's oil-fired boiler system in their own coal-burning locomotives. 

Jerry Day's recent video (above) captures #18 in all is steam-era glory.  There is nothing like a steam-powered locomotive.  It sounds like it is alive and its driving mechanism is not hidden under an aluminum shell as with a modern diesel-electric.  You see how a steam locomotive works as it runs, even as you feel the raw power of super-heated steam, the pop-valves, and the steam whistle.  Nothing like it.

Thanks to all the folks at the Carson & Colorado for bring to life a great locomotive which had become a mere roadside curiosity.


Apologetics in a Post Christian Age (Audio) -- The Witness of the Holy Spirit (Part Four)

Here's the audio from the Wednesday Night Bible Study:  The Witness of the Holy Spirit -- B. B. Warfield and Kuyper